Easy Ways To Help New Moms This Holiday Season

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. This post is sponsored by Huggies. All opinions are mine alone. #DiaperNeed #Hugs4Huggies #Sweepstakes #CollectiveBias

The holidays are the busiest time of the year for most people but, new parents especially, may find themselves easily overwhelmed as they try to take care of a newborn while preparing for the holidays. Since I’ve been talking a lot here on the blog about ways to give back, I wanted to suggest some ideas that would specifically help new parents. From bringing a meal to gifting Huggies diapers they can use for months to come, all of these ideas will brighten a new parent’s day.

Make them a meal.

One of the most tedious things to do every day, in my opinion, is cook dinner. After a day full of diaper changes and feedings, the last thing a new parent wants to be doing is trying to figure out what’s for dinner and how to get it on the table. Dropping off a meal that you’ve made them is such a nice gesture that will be appreciated! (One extra tip- deliver the meal in a container that they can keep so they aren’t worrying about having to get the dish back to you.)

Have them over for some adult conversation.

Parenting can be lonely so one thing you can do is invite your new friend over for some adult conversation. My mom friends saved my sanity during my early parenting years. Bonus points for providing coffee- the essential drink of parents everywhere!

Offer to watch their baby while they take a shower or a nap. 

Having a newborn is like being on call constantly. I remember when my children were young, I felt like as soon as I started to doze off, they would wake up. Watching the baby while mom or dad takes a long shower or a nap can rejuvenate her. Making time for parent’s health and happiness is important!

Show up and ask what you can help with.

Offers of help are nice but it’s the friends that show up without us having to ask that are the most cherished. Whether it’s folding laundry, washing the dishes, or running some errands, new parents probably have tons on their to-do lists they haven’t gotten around to doing yet. Helping with these tasks will give mom and dad more time to spend with baby and reduce her stress.

Gift them items they can use.

There are so many new things out there that make life with a newborn easier but I love sticking to gifts that I know will get used often- including essentials like diapers. I like to give a couple packs of diapers in different sizes and varieties to new parents. For the littlest ones, Huggies Snug & Dry are perfect because they feature four layers to absorb moisture quickly and offer up to 12 hours of protection. For older babies, there’s Huggies Little Movers that have a contoured shape and double grip strips that are designed for active babies.

Along with a soft blanket and diapers for the baby, I also love including a little something for mom or dad when I drop off a gift- whether it’s a gift card to their favorite coffee shop, a pretty smelling lotion or a mug celebrating their new title. (I can’t help it…. I’m a sucker for anything that has the word “mom” on it!)

When picking up Huggies diapers for the new mom or dad in your life you’ll want to go to Meijer because for every pack of Huggies purchased at Meijer through December 23rd, Huggies and Meijer will donate a day’s worth of diapers and Meijer will donate $1 to the National Diaper Bank Network. I love that these two companies are partnering together to give back and helping families thrive. This cause is important to me because when my boys were younger, we had very little money and there were times when I wasn’t sure how we were going to pay for our next pack of diapers or our weekly groceries. My family wasn’t alone in this need….currently one-in-three families (36%) in the U.S. struggle to provide enough diapers needed to keep their baby or toddler clean, dry, and healthy. As the founding sponsor of the National Diaper Bank Network since 2011, Huggies through its No Baby Unhugged program has provided ongoing support for the organization and has donated more than 200 million diapers and baby wipes, including critical donations during times of crisis, to those in diaper need.

You can also enter to win a year’s worth of diapers in the #Hugs4Huggies #sweepstakes! For four weeks, 2 winners will receive a year’s worth of diapers (in the form of $1,000 gift cards) and 2 winners (chosen by grand prize winners) will receive $500 gift cards. (Total 8 grand prize winners of $1000 gift cards and 8 secondary prize winners of $500 gift card.) Get more details on how to enter here.

What ideas do you have for helping new parents this holiday season? Leave a comment below or share your thoughts with me on social media!

How To Create A Gift Basket For A Cancer Patient

Thanks to Environmental Litigation Group, P.C. for starting this kindness campaign and sponsoring this post.

As a blogger I get to participate in a ton of amazing campaigns but my favorites are ones that let me give back to my community. I was asked if I wanted to join a “spread kindness” initiative to create a gift basket for a cancer patient and I’m happy to be participating. Getting a cancer diagnosis is devastating so making them a gift basket is just a small gesture we can do to show that we care and want to help them get through this difficult time.

Before I created my gift basket I looked online at what items were best to include. At the store I bought cancer fighting foods along with some items to help with self-care and stress-relief and created my basket to give to a cancer patient.

Today I’m sharing what I included in my gift basket. I hope that it gives you ideas if you want to create your own gift basket for someone who has cancer or is going through chemo.

Blanket

The first item I put in the basket was a beautiful, warm blanket to keep the patient warm. Hospital blankets are so scratchy and this nice blanket can bring a bit of home into the hospital.

Fruits & Veggies

Fresh fruits and vegetables are some of the best cancer fighting foods you can give a cancer patient. I put together a bag of items including spinach, apples, oranges, tomatoes and carrots.

Healthy Meal Starters

I included an organic soup for a quick lunch option. Beans and quinoa are great starters for healthy dinners.

Snacks & Vitamins

Everyone needs snacks and I included some delicious ones that have health benefits as well, like dark chocolate, nuts and fruit strips. I also added Vitamin C gummies, a protein powder, and honey, a natural sweetener.

Stress Relief

Staying stress free is essential so I wanted to include some items to help the cancer patient relax. I put an adult coloring book and colored pencils in the basket along with some candles they could light and some stress relief tea to sip.

Self-Care

In the basket I included some things to pamper them like healing lotion, epson salt crystals for a bath, and Chapstick for dry lips. I added slippers with no-slip bottoms and a pretty head scarf as well.

Want more ideas of things to include in your gift basket? Get more ideas here.

The best part about putting the basket together was getting my kids involved. Kindness is one of the most important qualities that someone can possess and something I want my kids to learn at an early age. I want them to make it their purpose in life to do nice things for people and put smiles on the faces of others. Having lost their grandma to cancer a few years back, this campaign is really a special one for them to help with and I’m happy they could help me make and donate the basket.

Along with creating a gift basket you can bring a home cooked meal, offer to help watch children or pets, hire a cleaning service to help them around their house, pamper them by painting their nails or just lend a listening ear.

I hope you will join me in spreading kindness this year! Tag me on social media with a picture of your basket if you join in and bring a basket to someone. Also, if you have any other ideas of items to include in the gift basket please share in the comments below. Together we can bring a smile to the face of others :)

Giving Tuesday {Giving Back To My Community Thanks To Kohl’s}

(Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. Kohl’s provided a gift card that I used to purchase gifts for others in the community.)

I try to give back to my community and those around the world all year round but I absolutely love the fact that there is one day that is called “Giving Tuesday”. This very special day is tomorrow, December 3rd, this year. What a great feeling to see people blowing up social media with talk of giving after a week of shopping and “getting”. When someone from Kohl’s emailed me and asked if they could send me a gift card to go shopping for others I was really excited. I enjoy working with Kohl’s on a regular basis and love that they give back to the community throughout the year with their Kohl’s Cares program. This was just more proof that I’m blessed to partner with such an amazing company.

Once I received the gift card I wanted to shop online right away because Kohl’s had fabulous deals and they were giving Kohl’s cash back so, like their commercial says, it’s like getting paid to shop! I had a few things in mind that I wanted to do with the money. My kids and I had chosen two “angels” off of the angel tree at Church to buy gifts for. The gifts would go to children who had parents in prison. I also wanted to purchase mittens and gloves for the mitten tree which would keep children and adults warm during the cold winter. With the remaining gift card balance I was going to get toys for a local gift mart. These toys would fill a makeshift store in a neighboring low income town’s school and gave parents the chance to “shop” for toys. Paying just $2 per toy allows parents to keep their dignity while being able to afford gifts for their children and then all proceeds go back into the local school. During my first few years of motherhood I would have been one of these parents so I’m happy to be able to help them.

I started with our angel tree gifts. Each parent in prison had written (or dictated) a note for their child that would be attached on the gift. It was humbling to see their Christmas wishes were so simple- they asked for clothes. The 3 year old wanted blue shirts and Spongebob themed clothes. The 6 year old’s wish was red clothes and Angry Bird themed items.

Gifts for the 3 year old- had a coloring book and crayons for him as well

Gifts for the 6 year old

The Angel Tree ministry is such a wonderful ministry and I’m so happy that we could bless not one, but two, kids this year. These kids will see gifts under the Christmas tree and a note from their parent that can’t be with them and I think it will bring such joy to them on Christmas morning.

I bought two 3-packs of mittens for little kids, a 3-pack of gloves for boys in elementary school, and a pair of gloves for a teenager or woman. Though it’s called a mitten tree I realized that we could have brought hats and scarves as well so I will definitely have to keep that in mind next year.

The mitten tree!

I’m still waiting on the second half of my gifts because I ordered the toys just a couple days ago. I found great deals on Thomas The Tank Engine, Melissa & Doug, Imaginext, and lots more to bring to the gift mart in a couple weeks. With my Kohl’s Cash I plan on buying some warm blankets to bring to a local homeless shelter. I bought a sherpa lined blanket from Kohl’s last month that I love so I think that I might get a few of those for the shelter. Again, a huge thanks to Kohl’s for providing the gift card and sharing the love this holiday season.

I hope that this post and the #GivingTuesday campaign have inspired you to think about new ways that you can give back this year. If you have ideas I’d love to read about them in the comments below!

Send A Valentine To The Kids Of Hurricane Sandy

The Postal Service wants to surprise 650 students at the John C. Thompson School (PS-52) of Staten Island and you can help.

Following Hurricane Sandy, the school was closed from Oct. 31 to Nov. 19. Many children and their families lost everything. Today, the children (grades pre-K to 5) are working hard.Things are getting back to normal but will never be the same.

Operation Bear Hug hopes to make February 14th extra special by providing Valentines to every child in the school. Send your Valentine wishes to:

Operation Bear Hug

PO Box 10213

Staten Island NY 10301

 

Cards will be delivered to each child by the Postal Service’s “I Love You” Bear mascot on Valentine’s Day along with as many hugs as they can bear.

(Disclosure: This isn’t a compensated post. I just love the cause and wanted to share a fun way to give back for Valentine’s Day.)

A Last Minute Gift Idea From Global Giving

GlobalGiving, a virtual marketplace for philanthropy, allows anyone with an internet connection to support more than 1,000 pre-screened charities in the U.S. and around the world. These are groups providing real-world solutions to help educate children, feed the hungry, build houses and infrastructure, protect our environment, empower women (and men), rescue animals, and support active military and veterans – just to name a few.

The best part? You can support this extensive network of impactful charities with a simple gift card that your friends and family will love this holiday season. For as little as $10, you can make things easy on yourself and purchase a gift card that everyone on your gift list will enjoy – from your kids to your Uncle to the mailman – and give them the complete freedom to choose a cause they wish to support. Plus, it’s the gift that keeps on giving long after the holidays with regular updates from those on the ground on how your donation is making a difference.

I was given a gift card to donate to a project of my choice. I have a handful of causes that I’m passionate about so I looked at all of my choices. I decided to donate my money to Develop Africa, Inc. which goes to providing mosquito nets and medication in Sierra Leone. Here’s a little bit about the cause:

Proven insecticide-treated nets save lives by protecting them from mosquito bites and the killer disease of malaria. Project also provides preventive anti-malaria tablets to Sierra Leoneans. The nets are useful particularly for protecting vulnerable children who are less resistant to the malaria. Additionally, when people fall sick, there is considerable lost time and loss of productivity for all members of the family. By providing a net, you are helping to support economic development.

Want to donate to a good cause in honor of someone you love or purchase a gift card to give to someone? You can do so here.

(Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. The gift card I received went right to the project I supported.)

 

Giving Tuesday: 5 Unique No-Cost Ways To Give Back

World Homeless Day

Today has been designated as “Giving Tuesday“. It’s the Tuesday after two huge shopping days (Black Friday & Cyber Monday) and a day to give back to others. I’d like to share 5 creative ways that you can give back to others. These 5 ideas from Call 2 Recycle won’t cost you a penny but will greatly bless another.

1.       Offer a Veteran a Ride

The Disabled American Veterans’ Voluntary Services Program provides numerous opportunities for men and women of all ages to help make a difference in the lives of disabled veterans: http://dav.org/volunteers/

2.       Spend time at a Shelter

You don’t have to be an animal expert to help out at your community’s shelter. You just need to have the time and desire to lend a helping hand: http://www.aspca.org/adoption/help-your-local-shelter.aspx

3.       Help safeguard the environment

It is as simple as recycling batteries. The kind that get recharged, like the ones in laptops and cell phones, contain mercury and lead, heavy metals that can contaminate the air, topsoil, and water if they’re tossed in the regular garbage.  Call2Recycle has partnered with major recycling facilities in the United States and Canada to process and reclaim materials from rechargeable batteries and cellphones. You can find a Call2Recycle recycling location here: http://www.call2recycle.org/locator/

4.       Declutter and Donate

You might not think so, but you can donate your old running shoes (they’ll recycle them!), same with your old mattress, and much more: http://www.aarp.org/money/budgeting-saving/info-10-2010/savings_challenge_give_your_stuff_to_a_good_cause.html

5.       Offer to babysit for free, it could be a friend or relative

There are a few things you can do to help out families in your neighborhood and even your own that would be much appreciated: http://www.kidsforcommunity.org/family-community-services.html

Cute Earrings For A Great Cause!

So my lovely blogging friend, Sarah Mae, from Like A Warm Cup Of Coffee is doing something fabulous to help a friend’s business and a charity at the same time. Watch the video above to find out all about it and then visit Sarah Mae’s blog post that explains it more. Oh and did I mention there are lots of goodies to win and MONEY up for grabs? (Follow the #10for400 hashtag on twitter for more information.) And as if that weren’t enough visit Our Daily Chocolate for more fun!

(Disclosure: I’m writing this blog post because I love the idea and I love the blogger behind the idea BUT I also want to add that by writing a post about what they are doing I will be entered into a contest to win some cute things. :) Even if I wasn’t trying to win something I still would have been writing this but like to be completely honest with you all.)

Random Acts of Kindness Week

Did you know that this week is Random Acts of Kindness Week? Well I just found out today that it is! In my opinion every week should be and it’s sad that we have to have a special title for this week in order for people to be nice to each other but I am celebrating it anyways.

I wanted to create a list of some ideas that I have thought of and would love to hear other’s ideas as well :)

1. Hold the door open for people coming behind you.

2. In the drive thru? Pay for the car behind you.

3. Leave a dollar in a library book where a child may find it.

4. Keep gift cards to a local grocery store in your car to hand out to homeless on the side of the street.

5. Send flowers to a friend with an anonymous encouraging note.

6. Leave some cookies in your mailbox for your mail carrier.

7. Drop off some food at a local food pantry.

8. Make a dinner for a new mom or a family going through a hard time.

9. If you are sitting somewhere and there are a lack of seats offer your seat to someone else who may need to sit.

10. Standing in line at the store and have a large order? Let the person behind you with only a couple of items go first.

11. Think of someone who you come into contact with on a regular basis that doesn’t get thanked for their hard work and write them a letter of appreciation and thanks.

12. Give a genuine compliment to someone- whether it’s their smile, their shoes, or the way they treat others.

13. Welcome new neighbors by visiting them and introducing yourself.

14. Be kind to those working in retail, wait staff, and anyone else that works in a customer service job.

15. Write a note to someone you love (spouse, parent, child) and leave it somewhere they will find it.

16. If someone drops something pick it up for them.

17. Shovel a neighbor’s driveway and sidewalk after it snows.

18. Volunteer to help with a cause you feel passionate about.

19. Give away clothes that don’t fit and items you don’t use to others who could use them.

20. Give someone your umbrella if it’s raining and they do not have one.

Join in and link up your ideas!

Help for Haiti- How Much YOU Raised…

I am overwhelmed by all of the comments and link-ups to my ‘Help for Haiti’ post. I just wanted to let you all know that BECAUSE OF YOU I am donating $48 dollars and 22 hours of my time to Feed My Starving Children. Considering every $1 provides about 6 meals, we just provided 288 meals. That is awesome! The money will be donated this week and the volunteering will happen in the Spring (right now they are booked through March!). Thank you again to everyone who participated! I am so proud of everyone for coming together to help the Haitian people. Remember you can still help the people by praying for them over the next weeks, months, and years as they rebuild their lives.

Help for Haiti- How You Can Help For Free!

Watching the video clips and viewing pictures of the earthquake’s aftermath in Haiti brings me to tears. Seeing the stunned faces. The battered bodies. The frightened children. The people sleeping in the streets…. I knew there must be some way that I could help them from where I was, with the resources I had available. When Crystal Paine a.k.a. Money Saving Mom asked other bloggers to come together and join her in giving to Haiti I immediately jumped at the opportunity to help. She has asked each blogger participating to choose which organization we would like to donate to and write a blog post inviting others to link up to us with how they plan to contribute. To do this I need your help.

Here’s what I would like you, my readers and friends, to do… Think about what you have done to help Haiti (or are currently doing). If you are a blogger please blog about how you are supporting the people of Haiti and add your link to Mister Linky. If you do not have a blog you can leave a comment below.

For every blog post that is linked up by midnight on January 21, 2010 I will be donating $1 to Feed My Starving Children. One dollar may not seem like a lot to us but this charity will stretch that dollar and provide six meals to hungry children. $62 will feed one child for a year and $170 will put food in one thousand mouths.

For every comment that is added by midnight on the 21st I will be donating half an hour of my time to volunteering at the organization helping package the meals. Financially I can’t do as much as I would like to so I want to offer up my time. Part of the reason I chose this organization is because it is within an hour of where I live and they use volunteers to package the meals. As of now they are booked through March with people wanting to help so I will be volunteering in the Spring- and into the summer if you guys overload me with comment love! I plan to have a ticker so you can see my progress and the hours served.

Most importantly please remember the people of Haiti in your prayers. This is the most powerful thing you can do!

Won’t you join me? Please link up or comment below.